Tag Archives: No Hard and Fast Rule

Judicial Discretion

In Ramji Dayawala & Sons (P) Ltd. v. Invest Import, (1981) 1 SCC 80 it was held:
“When it is said that a matter is within the discretion of the court, it is to be exercised according to well established judicial principles, according to reason and fair play and not according to whim and caprice. “Discretion”, said Lord Mansfield in R v. Wilkes, (1558-1774) All ER Rep 570, when applied to a court of justice, means sound discretion guided by law. It must be governed by rule, not by humour; it must not be arbitrary, vague and fanciful, but legal and regular (see Craies on Statute Law, 6th Edition, P. 273).
In Aero Traders (P) Ltd. v. Ravinder Kumar Suri, (2004) 8 SCC 307, the court observed:
“According to Black’s Law Dictionary “judicial discretion” means the exercise of judgment by a Judge or court based on what is fair under the circumstances and guided by the rules and principles of law; a court’s power to act or not act when a litigant is not entitled to demand the act as a matter of right. The word “discretion” connotes necessarily an act of a judicial character, and, as used with reference to discretion exercised judicially, it implies the absence of a hard and fast rule, and it requires an actual exercise of judgment and a consideration of the facts and circumstances which are necessary to make a sound, fair and just determination, and a knowledge of the facts upon which the discretion may properly operate. (See 27Corpus Juris Secundum, P. 289) When it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities, that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice and not according to private opinion: according to law and not humour. It only gives certain latitude or liberty accorded by statute or rules, to a Judge as distinguished from a ministerial or administrative official, in adjudicating on matters brought before him.” State of Himachal Pradesh v. Nirmala Devi, (2017) 7 SCC 262.

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